Joe Judge called it a storm, though given this Giants season thus far, perhaps hurricane would have been more appropriate, or even typhoon.
But as the Giants try to weather their 0-3 start, the loss of Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones’ bad start, and the litany of other things that have gone wrong, Judge was steadfast in his belief that the Giants would not be mentally beaten down by the rigors of the season.
After all, if the real victories don’t come, the moral ones will have to do.
"We established the buy-in early in our culture and our process by the relationships we established with each individual," Judge said before practice Friday. "When they understand collectively as a staff the relationships we have with the team and the way they feed off each other, that helps you go through adversity. Regardless of your record in this league, everyone is going through some kind of adversity in their own locker room right now. We have our storm, everyone else has their own storm. It’s up to us to make sure that we just keep improving on a weekly basis. There’s a lot of football left to be played."
One of the big improvements has to be Jones, who’s struggling with increased responsibility in light of the Giants invisible running game. And while that isn’t completely his fault, this is, right now, his team, and his team is going up against the Rams Sunday undermanned and overmatched.
Of Jones, Judge said he "loves his response" to last week’s painful performance against the 49ers, where the second-year quarterback went 17-for-32 for 179 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception, his fourth of the young season.
"This guy is coming in laser focused," Judge said. "He’s had a great week of practice for us right here. He’s obviously focused on the game plan, the details of the Rams, and everyone on our team focuses every day on individual fundamentals. He’s had a great week. I think we’re all at this point ready to get on the plane and get out there."
And though it might not be apparent on the field so far, Judge insisted the Giants were getting better every week. But any tangible results are going to be difficult to see when your running backs are averaging 1.9 yards per carry, as the Giants’ rushers are going into this weekend. They have only one rushing touchdown, from Dion Lewis. Judge said their poor rushing game came down to a host of factors, and Barkley's absence obviously hurts, though he, too, got off to a slow start in the one and a half games he played before his season-ending ACL injury.
"It has to be complementary football and we have to play balanced on offense," Judge said. "Running helps the passing game and vice versa. We all have to do a better job in terms of how we design the game plan, make sure we put them in the right position play wise so the players make plays, play to our strengths, and we all have to elevate our level of play. We have to do a better job as coaches on Sundays, and we have to do a better job executing as players as well. There’s no really one pinpoint answer on that."
Notes & quotes: Jabrill Peppers (ankle) has been ruled out for Sunday. Julian Love (knee/ankle) is questionable after being limited this week, but is expected to play.